Favorite Photo Friday - "We Met Giada"

March 30, 2012

First glimpse through the crowd BLOG
Last night my Mom and I stood in line with about a thousand other people at our local Wegmans to meet Giada De Laurentiis and have her sign a copy of her new cookbook that was just released this week. I knew there would be a lot of people, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be as crazy as it was. Giada was scheduled to be there from 5-7pm, but based on the number of people that had tickets, I would guess she was there until 11pm still signing away. Luckily, I have a fabulous Mom who went to the store at 2pm and got a voucher so that we could be in the first group of people to meet her after the VIPs. The staff had a huge job trying to keep things secure and orderly and there were lots of rules that needed to be followed. Unfortunately with the amount of people that were there, Giada was not posing for photos, but you could take pictures of her as she signed from certain areas. One of which being the line as you approached her. This was my first view of her through the guys that were standing in front of us.

And just in case you were wondering, she is even more beautiful in person than she is on TV.... if that is possible. She radiates beauty, from her flawless skin to her vibrant and cute personality! She took the time to speak to all of her fans and I could see that she was especially drawn to all the kids that came to see her.

Mom and Giada Collage
When my Mom got up there to have her books signed(as in plural, make sure you keep reading to the very end of the post), she told Giada how much she enjoys not only her fabulous recipes, but how she lets us into her life by sharing all of her family stories and even includes her family members in so many of her episodes.

My Mom's favorite is Aunt Raffy and she told Giada that when she cooks with Aunt Raffy, it reminds her of our family. Giada giggled and said that every family has an "Aunt Raffy". For those that don't know Aunt Raffy, she is a scream and has a fun way of challenging Giada while she is in the kitchen. Telling her "that is not the way I do it Giada". It is really funny to see them sort of bicker in the kitchen...... just like our family can do from time to time!

Even though we could have spent hours talking with her, we only had a minute before we were whisked away so they could keep the line moving. There were tons of people waiting to make their way up the steps to meet her. This was the view of the store as we made our way down the steps. Unfortunately, these people had a very long night of standing and waiting....... but I am sure it was worth every minute.

Crowd Control Floor Level BLOG
My Mom and I happily "skipped" out of the store after meeting her and then went out to grab a cocktail and bite to eat. It was such a fun thing for us to do together, and even though I did not get any photos of myself with Giada, at least I got a few of my Mom for the old memory book!!!

So, if you are a big time Giada fan, you have to pick up her new book called "Weeknights with Giada". Being that my time is so limited during the week and I don't have a whole lot of time to spend in the kitchen, I am really anxious to dig into these recipes and give them a try.

"I definitely don't have the time anymore to cook for hours every day- not if I want to spend time at the table with Todd and jade. But I still love food and cooking and want to eat a nice dinner! So I've really shaken up my weeknight repertoire to include only dishes that I can pull together after a full day. This is what weeknights look like in my house. I hope these recipes inspire you and your family to gather around the table(or picnic blanket) for some fantastic dinners - and. most important, a whole lof of fun." ~Giada De Laurentiis~

We are going to make this post a little more exciting!
Are you ready?

Again, thanks to my ever so thoughtful and supportive Mom, she thought it would be fun to include you all in our big night with Giada and she grabbed an extra book that has been autographed for one of you to win!!! Next week is my 4 year "blogiversary" and I always do a giveaway in conjunction with it, so this year will be no different, it is just coming a week early!

If you want a chance to win a signed copy of her newest cookbook, "Weeknights With Giada", just leave me a comment and tell me why you could use the cookbook or what keeps you coming back to "The Long Road to China". After four years of blogging, I wonder at times how much longer I can keep it up and continue to share our happenings and things that are interesting enough to keep you all tuned in. As long as you all are here still reading, I will keep writing and sharing our life with you!

You have until 11pm Eastern Time on Monday, April 2nd to enter to win the book.
The lucky winner will be announced next week.

TGIF my friends!!! Enjoy your weekend.
{I had intended to post the rest of my bluebell photos today, but decided to postpone them until next week, so check back Sunday or Monday}


March 28, 2012

Dancing in the Sunlight Sarah  BLOG
There is such a sweet innocence about Sarah.
I am not sure if you can see it in her photos, but there is a delicateness to her and at times, I would even consider her somewhat fragile. She is one of those kids that thinks pretty deeply and takes just about everything that is said, to heart.

For you mommy BLOG
The other night, I was laying with her in bed and just as she was ready to nod off, she rolled towards me and said, "Mommy, I did not grow in your belly, did I?"

Sarah with the bluebells portrait BLOG
The question, literally knocked the wind out of me..... It sort of took me by surprise because it came out when I was least expecting it. Earlier that night there was no talk of adoption, China, or babies, as there often is in our house. She almost appeared half asleep when she asked the question, but she knew exactly what she was asking.

Looking down at her bluebells BW BLOG
It took me a moment to collect my thoughts before I could respond. The one thing that I will always be with my girls when it comes to their adoption stories, is honest. I will never dodge specific questions, but I want to make sure my answers are very age appropriate. So, after taking a deep breath, I said, "No Sarah, you did not grow in my belly, you grew in another woman's belly and when you were born, we adopted you, just like we adopted Reagan."

Sarah Whispy Hair BLOG
Sarah can comprehend what we went through to get Reagan because she was here, she was a part of it. She knows that Reagan lived in an orphanage in China and that we went to go bring her home to become part of our family. Sarah's story is different and she sees photos of herself with us when she was just days old, so I think there was a little disconnect for her. She has heard us say many times that she was adopted, but I don't think she fully understood what it meant or it didn't quite resonate with her.

We have been reading a lot of kids adoption books lately, namely Kay Bratt's "Mei Li and The Wise Laoshi" and Jamie Lee Curtis's book, "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born". Things are starting to click and that is a good thing, I don't want her to have any doubts and I want her to come to us with her questions, but my heart aches when I think of some of the cold hard facts that I will one day need to share with her as she continues to work through this in her mind and the questions get deeper.

Sarah in the sunflare with the bluebells Crop2 BLOG
She accepted my answer, because I think she knew the answer, she just wanted reassurance, but then asked if Nicky was in my belly or was he in another woman's belly, like she and Reagan. When I told her that Nicky did grow in my belly, she said that she wished she did too and began to cry. It took every ounce of my being to choke back my own tears. I hugged her tight and told her that where she "grew" did not make a difference to us. We loved her just as much as we loved Nicky and Reagan. We were a family in search of baby and she was a baby that needed a family. God had a master plan and we were a match made in heaven. She was meant to be our daughter whether she grew in my tummy or not.

She hugged me back and said, "I love you and I am glad God picked you to be my Mommy", rolled over and fell asleep.

Sarah looking over Reagan's shoulder with bluebells BLOG
I am so thankful that these girls not only share the bond of sisterhood, but adoption too. As they get older and they better understand their adoption stories, they will not only have us, but they will have each other.

Favorite Photo Friday - "Springtime Traditions"

March 22, 2012

Our first trip to the park 2012 collage
Spring decided to make an early appearance around here and it was welcomed with open arms.
Last week, we were experiencing temps in the high 60's and 70's, so before I rolled out of town Monday morning, I promised the girls a fun filled weekend with lots of outdoor activities.
Going to the park to play and a trip to Rita's Italian Ice was at the top of their list.

Rita's Custard with Sprinkles BLOG
Rita's had opened a few days prior and Sarah was craving her favorite "Swedish Fish" flavored ice.
Unfortunately, it was not one of the featured flavors, so she settled for vanilla custard with rainbow sprinkles instead.

Feet Crossed Eating Gelati BLOG
And Reagan decided to get the same!!

Sarah Eating Ice Cream BLOG
They did not waste any time and dug right in to the good stuff.

Reagan's spoonful of ice cream BLOG
Reagan in her independent fashion, which I sometimes like to refer to as stubborn.... would not accept any help with her big dish.

Spooful in her mouth Reagan BLOG
She carefully spooned it into her mouth, trying not to miss a drop......

Ooops I spilled BLOG
although she tried very hard, she did have a few runaway dribbles and sprinkles alike.
{Check out the shots that show her cute knee socks.... there is a red sprinkle stuck to them. I thought about removing it in photoshop, but decided it was best to keep it real. I like that runaway sprinkle right where it is!}

Sitting on the Bench at Rita's BLOG
The place was hopping.... I think the line at the window was at least 15 deep the entire time we were there. Rita's is really wildly popular in our neck of the woods, so if you are passing through this area between March and October, be sure to stop by one of the many locations and give it a try!

Whatcha Lookin at Sarah BLOG
These two attracted quite a bit of attention as they vigorously made their way to the bottom of their dishes.

As you can see, they just "ate it up" and continued to put on a show for those that were making a fuss over them!

We had so much fun...... and as soon as we got back in the car, Sarah said, "Mommy, this was the best day ever!" It's always the simple things that mean the most to them, isn't it?

Once we arrived home she told me she wanted to get out the slip n slide and put on her bathing suit. I had to explain that we were in the season of Spring, not Summer, and she had a few more months to wait before we would be bringing out the slip n slide or the baby pool. For now, we are going to enjoy all the beautiful things Spring has to offer.

With the burst of gorgeous weather, everything has started to bloom. On my way back home today, I swung through the park that always has the field of bluebells in April...... and when I pulled in and looked up, I found they were already blooming! I don't think I ever remember them coming up this early, but they don't stick around long, so we will be out there this weekend for sure.... just like trips to Rita's and the park, visiting the field of bluebells is tradition for us!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

The Toddler Years

March 20, 2012

Hi Mommy Pink Ruffles and Sunglasses BLOG
Two little eyes discovering what's new

Hands Folded on Chair BLOG
Two little hands touching everything in view

Glasses Up on Her Head Pink Ruffles BLOG
A sweet little voice asking you why

Putting on suglasses collage BLOG
A mischievous smile and a whimpering cry

Pink Sunglasses and Ruffles Reagan2 BLOG
Two little feet jumping on the floor

Arms up over her head Sunglasses and Ruffles BLOG
A toddler's mission is to explore

Hey Look at Me Sunglasses and Ruffles BLOG

As tiring as it can be keeping up with a toddler, I absolutely love the stage we are in right now with Reagan and would not trade it for the world. She wakes up as happy as can be and she never stops going until we can convince her it is time for bed. Her personality and speech have really exploded over the last two months. She has become extremely outgoing in social situations and is much more sure of herself and her surroundings. Her language skills now consist of three and four word sentences which is major progress, considering where we were in September. I know speech therapy really helped, but I think sending her to daycare has had a tremendous impact with the socialization side of things. Time is flying and things seem to be changing so rapidly. It seems like yesterday I stepped off that plane with a helpless little baby in my arms, yet a year and a half has passed us by and today, that helpless little baby has turned into an independent toddler.

I am in San Antonio this week on business and I am already missing all three of my babies.
Luckily, this is a quick trip and by Thursday, I will be smooching their adorable little faces:)
Have a great week everyone!

Favorite Photo Friday - "Confirmation"

March 16, 2012

Nick Sarah Reagan Confirmation Day BLOG3
Tuesday afternoon, Nick received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
It was a hectic day and we were rushing to get him to school by 4pm, but I managed to get a quick shot of him with the girls just before he walked in to meet his classmates.

Nick Filing Into the Pew at Church BLOG
I was hoping to get a good seat in church where I would be able to take pictures easily with no obstructions, but we were not that lucky. The church was so very crowded, and in the end, I guess I should be thankful that we actually had a pace to sit. Many were left in the back, standing room only.

confirmation collage blog
The mass was absolutely beautiful. After the kids answered all of their confirmation questions, the Bishop delivered a fantastic message to the congregation about the sacrament of confirmation and what it means to our children. At the conclusion, each confirmand stepped forward with their sponsor and the Bishop anointed them with chrism(an aromatic oil that has been consecrated by the bishop) accompanied by the words "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit".

So proud of you Nicky 8 x 10 BLOG2
Two and a half hours after entering the church, the mass concluded and we could finally wrap our arms around Nick to congratulate him. We were all so very proud.
This photo totally melts my heart!

After we left the church, we headed out with my parents for a celebratory dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. It was the perfect end to a very special day for our family.

It has been super busy around here. After missing an entire week of work due to illness last week, I had a lot of catching up to do. Hoping to post more in the upcoming week. I have a great recipe in draft that I can't wait to share.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Sunday Snapshot - "Fresh Air With Friends"

March 11, 2012

Four Girls Across Collage
Thankfully, by Friday afternoon, the last of us "sickies" in the house, started to feel better and by Saturday morning we were feeling well enough to get up and out. We had plans with my friend Michelle and her two beautiful girls to go see The Lorax, but after the week we had I thought we were going to have to cancel..... I am so happy it all worked out.

The movie was cute...all the girls really enjoyed it and even Reagan, who was attending her very first movie, sat through the entire thing without getting antsy or causing a commotion.

After the movie ended, we headed outside to let the girls get some fresh air and burn off some of their energy! These four cutie-pies caused quite a stir as walked the shops hand in hand. It was such an adorable sight.

Towing the end of the line BLOG
Reags did her best to keep up with the big girls. At times her little legs didn't seem to move fast enough, but she was determined to keep up.

Movie Stars  BLOG
Ten minutes after entering "The Children's Place" our four cuties came out sportin some glam pink glasses!

Sarah and Reagan Looking at Each Other with Sophie in the Middle BLOG
I don't think Sarah ever stopped giggling.... well, until I said it was time to go home.
We had such a wonderful afternoon with some very special friends and it was just what the doctor ordered on so many levels.

It is supposed to be another beautiful day here in PA so we will definitely take advantage of that and head outdoors this afternoon.

Enjoy you Sunday.

Sunday Snapshot

To see more Sunday Snapshots, head on over to my friend Stefanie's blog


March 9, 2012

The past seven days have been anything but fun for this family......
We have had something terrible going through our house and it has knocked us down one by one.
It started last Friday night when I felt like I was getting a terrible sore throat. I ended up in bed through Monday. That night, we all woke up to the sounds of poor Sarah getting sick. By Tuesday night it hit my husband, and by Wednesday night, the flu hit Nick and me too.
Little Reags is still standing.... she has not come down with it yet, but we are waiting because whatever it is, it seems to be highly contagious.

Needless to say, I am sick and tired....of being sick and tired. I was in tears yesterday because I just cannot take anymore of this. It has been the worst winter we have ever experienced in terms of illness and germs. Hoping to get every window in this house open this weekend so that we can air it out and kiss these germs goodbye once and for all.

I wish I had something more exciting to share today, but I do not. I have not even picked up my camera in 12 days. We are still quarantined here at home in our PJs with Gatorade, Ginger-ale, Chicken Soup, and Saltines. Hoping the end of this madness is very near and we can actually enjoy our weekend.

Feel free to link your Favorite Friday post below, unfortunately, I will be sitting this one out:(

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Favorite Photo Friday - "Breathless"

March 1, 2012

Heart Hat Reagan 2 BLOG

"Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away."
~Author Unknown~

And this moment, definitely left me breathless!!
Reagan is really losing her baby face. She is looking more and more like a big girl each day.....which makes this mama quite sad.
My girl is growing up way too fast....

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